SHADE the CHANGING GIRL / BLACK / DEATH of HAWKMAN / INTERTWINED [Reviews]: It’s a Revolution!
IDW recently launched its Revolution series. Now, I don’t normally read IDW comics, but this crossover event seemed intriguing. I belong to the oldest group of Millennials, so I still remember looking for crossover fan-fiction on FTP sites. I also remember my brothers, who happen to be identical twins, throwing G.I. Joe Action Figures and steel metal Transformers at me. Therefore, Revolution: Chapter One – Concorde Hymn (a mega-crossover) stuck a chord with me.
IDW and Hasbro has created a universe that melds worlds together. As you know, Marvel and DC have mastered this craft. Therefore, a crossover event isn’t particularly inventive, but it is really entertaining. I get excited thinking about a universe where the worlds of Action Man, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and ROM collide. John Barber (Transformers vs G.I. Joe) and Cullen Bunn (Drax, Sinestro) masterfully introduces the world and the conflicts that plague the universe. Their story is perfectly complimented by the art of Fico Ossio (Skylanders, Revolution).
At the beginning of the comic, a global incident involving Ore-13, makes the Americans, Earth, and the G.I. Joe crew believe that Optimus Prime and the the Autobots are hellbent on becoming the world’s robot overloads. Soundwave, who was a Decepticon ally, works with Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Arcee to convince the humans that they are merely there to help. Optimus Prime and the Autobots previously defended earth against Megatron and the Decepticons. However, after ROM, a non-human robotic entity attacks the humans, the Autobot’s loyalty to Earth and the Cosmic Community is called into question.
This was a fun introduction to a story that will appeal to all ages. What will happen between the Autobots and Earth? Is man’s struggle against the machine? Or is man’s struggle against himself? Is technology the enemy? Or is the enemy simply the way we relate to it? Is man more fallible than machine? These are questions that are frequently asked in modern literature. Therefore, if you like to get philosophical, read this comic. If you like to just have fun, read this comic. You can’t really go wrong when G.I. Joes, Transformers, and explosions are involved. I wonder what would happen if Hasbro put Rainbow Dash in the next installment? My Little Bro-nies would be delighted. Also, think about the merchandising. Just kidding…not really.
Ah, Shade, The Changing Girl #1. I was eagerly anticipating this ever since I saw the preview first image spread within the pages of Hellblazer: Rebirth. The DC “Young Animal” line is very much in the vein of their defunct Vertigo line–although a lot lighter than the former…for the time being–in terms of complexity and depth. In this premiere issue, writer/indie rocker/director Cecil Castellucci (a.k.a. Nerdy Girl) introduces us to Loma, a beaked alien from the planet Meta, who steals Rac Shade’s (from the Vertigo series) Meta (nee Madness) Jacket, which can change reality based on the user’s emotions and will, from a Meta museum of earth culture. She’s bored since dropping out of school, directionless, and curious about the myriad emotions and sensations to be found on Earth. She absconds within the body of comatose Earth teenaged girl Megan Boyer, who–in the brief flashbacks we’re afforded before her coma–is a bit of an asshole.
Artist Marley Zarcone (TMNT: Allies and Enemies) applies surrealist attributes liberally, as any comic with the post-script “The Changing (blank)” requires. Nearly every single panel could be framed and hung in any modern art gallery, with psychedelic possibilities at which Doom Patrol only hinted. This is worth a purchase, is packed with so much backstory in so little time, and doesn’t give a damn about whether its readers will catch up. The references to the Vertigo series were a fun touch, as well as a single image shout-out to one of my favorite shows, “Danger 5”. (See if you can find it, fellow fans!). This is a book for readers looking for a harder, more cerebral edge to their monthlies, and might be a bit off-putting to new readers. But if you’re game, I highly recommend it and am adding it to my monthly hold list. 4.75/5 Meta Jackets.
Police respond to an armed robbery call in Brooklyn, NY. The suspects are described as three young Black males in basketball shorts and t-shirts, a description that relates to an overwhelming amount of the people in Bed-Stuy (Bedford-Stuyvesant, a predominantly Black neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, NY). An over-zealous contingent of police officers swarm on the scene, drawing their service weapons, ordering three Black youth males to freeze with their hands up. Having just finished playing basketball at a local court, the males, justifiably startled, proceed to run in the opposite direction of the officers only to be riddled with the bullets of those sworn to protect and serve. This could easily be mistaken as an incident ripped from the headlines of today’s news outlets. However, this is the opening scene of a brand new entry to world of comic books.
BLACK #1, from new writer Kwanza Osajyefo and veteran writer/artist Jamal Igle (Molly Danger, Supergirl) delves into the story of a young man named Kareem, one of the three boys who unfortunately saw the wrong end of the hail of bullets taking down his two friends and himself. This miraculous tale is set in today’s world of social injustice, while staying true to the imaginative back drop of universe containing heroes with beyond-human abilities. With a few imperative questions remaining concerning survival, a mysterious agency, and, most importanly, their plans if Kareem is indeed apprehended. Issue #2 in this superb and ultra raw series can’t come soon enough. 4/5 Bibles.
In the same tradition as TV, Death of Hawkman #1 starts off with a big what-the-hell-is-going-on to grab your attention, then backtracks you to “earlier in time” (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow?), before the crazy said moment has happened. The only issue? The comic, written by Marc Andreyko (Manhunter) and drawn by Aaron Lopresti (Justice League International), begins with Hawkman and Adam Strange–originally titled “Out of Time”, so…–and then shows previous events with a whole lot of (Adventures of?) Adam and NO Hawkman! I know, while one issue, why give such a huge intro of Hawkman bleeding from a whole bunch of arrows as a town lays in rubble, for… what? Regardless, Strange is stuck on earth and can’t get back to Rann or his wife. He tracks all the residual Zeta radiation in the process, trying to find a solution… all well and good, bu I’d still like to know where the hell Hawkman is. I mean, his name is on the cover! Oh well. 2.5/5 Bibles.
Written by Fabrice Sapolsky (Spider-Man Noir) with art by Fred Pham Chuong, Intertwined is the first kung-fu noir comic book that was also funded on Kickstarter. Intertwined is like an adult version of the animated series Jackie Chan Adventures combined with your favorite classic Cantonese martial arts film (or anything directed by Yuen Woo-Ping).
The story follows the beats of a Bruce Lee film: skilled martial artist wants to win a tournament and use the reward money to both provide for his mother, and better his poor neighborhood. The five elements that the comic teases (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) have yet to come into play, but the kung-fu action feels like it’s lifted directly from one of the Ip Man films. There’s certainly potential in Sapolsky’s kung-fu noir, especially once this philosophical imbalance kicks off. In the meantime, though, you’re treated to some pretty solid action that’s reminiscent of everything you love about martial arts films, and even get to learn how to say, “Dickface,” in Cantonese (Lun yeung!). Hopefully the rest of this title continues with the great potential showcased in this first issue. 3/5 Bibles.